A vital part of growing up involves learning to express and regulate emotions. But for young children, that can often be challenging.
A new study takes a look at an easy and inexpensive way that parents can help their kids do just that.
Whether they're happy, mad or any feeling in between, your child may have lots of emotions.
Sometimes, those emotions may be a little hard for them to name or even control.
Now psychologists from Brooklyn College share research on how parents can use drawing and creativity to help their child regulate their emotions.
In one study, researchers asked kids to think about a time that they were disappointed.
Then half the kids were asked to draw the disappointing experience as a way to vent, while the other half were asked to draw a house as a means of distraction.
They were given five minutes and then were asked about their mood.
The researchers found even though both groups reported an improvement in mood after drawing, the group that was drawing houses as a distraction, reported greater improvement in mood than the "vent" group.
The researchers performed the study again on a separate group of kids, this time adding a third group, who were told to copy a drawing.
Here's what they found: kids who were told to draw a house had a greater improvement in mood over the ones who were told to copy an image.
So experts say, tap into your child's creativity to help them perk up their mood and give them an outlet. Give them an idea of a topic, and let them put pencil to paper.
Researchers point out that the creative drawing technique works best on day-to-day situations, like a disappointing day at school.
But in the case of a traumatic or more serious event, a "venting" approach might be a healthier strategy to help them, and it's one that may help start a dialogue with a parent, as well.